Blue Apron Subscription Box Review + Coupon – May 2017
Blue Apron is a subscription meal delivery service. Every week, they send seasonal recipes created by their culinary team and the pre-measured ingredients you need to make them at home.
Check out all of our reviews of Meal Delivery Services to see every meal kit subscription box option!
In addition to their standard 2-Person subscription plan, which features three weekly seasonally-inspired meals for two, Blue Apron also offers a Family Plan that features kid-friendly recipes and family-style meals for four.
This is a review of the 2-Person subscription plan ($9.99 per serving, or $59.94 per week). I usually just cook just for myself, so I keep the extra servings as leftovers I can eat through the week.
This is also a review of Blue Apron‘s vegetarian option. I’m glad that this company has a veggie option, but be aware that the selections each week are much more limited. Each week’s menu has only 6 recipes in total, and only three are vegetarian. The veggie recipes, like other Blue Apron meals, feel like what I’d find at a gourmet restaurant or cafe. They’re tasty, but the combinations are a bit more outside-the-ordinary than other boxes I’ve tried.
I really appreciate Blue Apron‘s commitment to the health of the larger food system (and therefore, the satisfaction and well-being of their customers). Blue Apron is really up front about its commitments to sustainability, high-quality produce, responsibly raised meats, the success of smaller farmers, and reducing food waste—moreso than other brands I’ve looked at.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Blue Apron
The Cost: $59.94 for 3 recipes on the 2-Person Plan, $69.92 for 2 recipes on the Family Plan, $139.84 for 4 recipes on the Family Plan.
COUPON: Get three free meals on your first order! No code needed, just use this link
The Products: Fresh ingredients and recipes to make healthy meals at home.
Ships to: U.S.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Those of you who’ve read my other reviews know by now that I’m super new in the kitchen. Part of my goal in trying out Blue Apron is to see if I can get a bit more comfortable with cooking and maybe even walk away with a few techniques I can experiment with in the future. So far, I’ve learned that I love roasting vegetables, that I’m slower than I thought I’d be at chopping veggies, and that I can’t cook an egg for the life of me. There is an egg in one of the recipes I got in this box (stay tuned for how that goes), but just in case I feel like getting some practice in, Blue Apron included this bonus card about cooking a perfect poached egg. I’m probably not going to poach anything anytime soon, but I’ll definitely keep this card in my kitchen drawer. For as bad as I am at cooking eggs, I love eating them—one of these days, I’ll have to just get a carton of eggs from the store and keep trying ’til I get it!
My motivation will be this decadent photo of an eggs benedict on the back of the card. I’m a veggie gal, so I’d skip the Canadian bacon, but imagine swapping it for a big slice of fresh tomato, some arugula, and some swiss cheese? (Just so we’re clear, I’m bad in the kitchen… unless we’re talking about sandwich—or sandwich-adjacent—creations!)
Okay, let’s get cookin’! Blue Apron just drops everything into its box, rather than packaging the ingredients for the different recipes in separate bags or boxes. I recommend running through and checking off that you have everything you need for the recipe in front of you before getting started. You should also read through the entire recipe to know what to expect through the process. This is an especially important step with Blue Apron, since they don’t list out the specific kitchen tools you need (think pans, pots, etc.) on their recipe cards like other subscriptions do.
Apparently, radishes were in short supply. These little cards explain that the radishes that did appear in two of these recipes were replaced by Persian cucumber. I’m not too hung up on radishes, so I’m cool with the switch!
Baked Spinach and Egg Flatbreads
Calories per Serving: 610
Total Time According to Blue Apron: 45-55 minutes
Actual Time: About an hour
This egg-centric dish is actually much easier to prepare than I expected. I was anticipating having to whip out a blender or food processor to make the spinach topping for the flatbread, but the process is just steaming spinach, drying and chopping it roughly, then mixing it with a few other fixins before spreading it over the pita. That’s not to say it doesn’t take time. Each step (prepping the spinach, building the flatbread, baking the flatbreads and eggs, making the asparagus, and making the aioli) happens relatively separately. An hour is a long time for me to spend in the kitchen, so this was a haul to get done!
Before we move on, let me take a second to shine the spotlight on the unsung hero of this dish. The asparagus! It’s presented as just a side, but its simplicity is deceiving. This asparagus was AWESOME. I’ve never cooked asparagus in the method that Blue Apron suggested with this recipe (where you cook it in the pan, then add water to steam it a bit, then douse it in lemon juice and salt and pepper to bring out its flavor), but it was such a success. It’s a little more complicated than just tossing the asparagus in the oven, but the flavor was amazing. PLUS, they pair the asparagus with a tasty aioli that’s the perfect zesty, salty-sweet complement to these veggies. I don’t have kids, but I feel like that aioli would be an awesome incentive to get them to eat their vegetables. I was literally eating these asparagus spears like French fries, they were so good!
The finished flatbread was really delicious. There’s a peppery kick (that you can adjust to your heat preferences) to the spinach topping that makes it really addictive and delectable. The egg is dropped into the center of the spinach topping, then you bake it in the oven until the whites look firm—one of the only egg cooking methods I feel like I actually pulled off! My only complaint was that there really wasn’t that much spinach on this dish. They only give you enough to create a thin (and I mean thin) layer on top of the flatbread, so the meal doesn’t end up feeling all that balanced. I guess I still got a fair amount of greens from all the asparagus I ate, but I was really expecting more spinach. (I LOVE spinach, so I got unreasonably excited about the spinach element of this dish!) Another note—this one doesn’t work too well for leftovers. I’d recommend reserving the second half of the spinach mixture and the other egg and just making the second flatbread when you’re ready to eat it. The asparagus doesn’t keep so well either—or at least, it’s not nearly as magical as it is straight out of the pan.
Fregola Sarda Pasta Salad
Calories per Serving: 660
Total Time According to Blue Apron: 50 minutes to an hour
Actual Time: About an hour and 15 minutes
I’d never heard of fregola sarda before, but it’s a kind of pasta not unlike couscous—think teeny little balls, some of which have been toasted to a deep brown.
This recipe was slowed significantly by my less-than-swift knife skills. I know how to use a knife, but I’m still too timid with knives to really fly through my chopping duties like a TV chef would. And there was a LOT of chopping to do in this recipe. It wasn’t all that difficult but for the process of deveining the peas. (The stem-like parts I think I was supposed to be peeling off refused to come off in one clean movement…argh!)
The pasta cooked easily and the veggies were easy enough to prep. But the finished product was… meh. I liked the crunch of the leeks, peas, and cucumber, but the pasta ended up tasting kind of gummy (I couldn’t tell if it was too al dente or not al dente enough…), and the spicy ricotta that the dish sits upon seemed weirdly out of place and too heavy to me (especially when combined with the pasta). The flavors just didn’t seem to want to cooperate with each other. It was kind of a bummer that, after all that effort, I was sort of over this dish after the first two or three bites.
Stir-Fried Wonton Noodles
Calories per Serving: 620
Total Time According to Blue Apron: 30-40 minutes
Actual Time: About 50 minutes
The last recipe in the box was this Asian-inspired dish. I love Asian-inspired foods, so I was excited to see how this would turn out. Stir-fry dishes tend to be pretty easy, and they’re a great way to get a lot of tasty veggies in one dish.
Again, there was a whole lot of chopping to do, but once that was over, the dish was a pretty easy, one-pan affair (apart from the noodles, which you cook for a short time in another pot first). The best part about cooking this dish is how deliciously fragrant your kitchen becomes. The onion and mushrooms create a really luscious aroma that got me even more excited to try this dish.
The thing is, this dish was missing the wow factor I thought it’d have. It was creamy and savory, but the flavor was bland and a little one-note. It’s weird because this dish had ingredients full of acidity, crunch, sweetness, spice… but those flavors felt muted in the end result. I think it’s because the wonton noodles ended up overwhelming everything else in the dish. They had a mild starchy flavor that stood out more than it should, especially after they were heated up. And the proportion of noodles to veggies (and other elements) wasn’t quite balanced. It did survive the leftovers test pretty well, but it the experience was basically eating an underwhelming dish a second time.
Verdict: This Blue Apron didn’t really wow me this week. I was surprised—the recipes definitely seemed gourmet, but they were more showy than satisfying. The frustrating part is that I can’t tell what was missing. I’ve had plenty of healthy recipes that hold back on things like salt or fat, but they manage to taste awesome nonetheless. These recipes had plenty of both of those crowd-pleasing ingredients, but they fell short of being delicious. The ingredients themselves seemed great, too. I munched on a few bits of produce while I was chopping, and everything seemed fresh and flavorful. So I’m kind of at a loss. Bummer! In terms of price per serving, these meals were pretty middle-of-the-road compared to Hello Fresh (which is cheaper) and Plated (which is more expensive). While these Blue Apron meals seemed easier to prepare than the ones in my last box (which I really appreciated), they fell short in the most important way—the food just wasn’t that awesome.
Do you subscribe to Blue Apron? Which meals have you loved?